Monthly Archives: August 2016

2016 IOGKA Gasshuku UPDATE

Greetings everyone, the 17th Annual Goshukan Gasshuku/National Training Camp is quickly approaching; for those that haven’t registered yet, you still have time.  All details can be found on the Event Flyer, and further updates can be found on the Gasshuku event page here.

2016 FINAL REVISION goshukan gasshuku flyer

REAL TALK from a Karate Teacher

DSC_0045By Garry Parker

This photo is from 2 years ago, Takamiyagi Sensei’s first visit to the USA.
As I scan the group, I realize that so much can change in two years; some have grown in skill, others have quit, and still others have been on a very long ‘break.’
Some of these in the group earned their black belt since this photo, and are shining brilliantly; others have earned their black belt and quickly faded away.
TEACHERS: As a teacher, I am proud of every single student, and I’m overjoyed when I get to tie that black belt around their waist for the first time. And, as a teacher, I simply do not understand how the student with a new black belt..the student that was excited, overjoyed, and emotional when they were promoted..can just walk away.
We train, we learn, we sometimes make mistakes, and we grow from them if we are humble enough to admit and accept our mistakes.
Students quit every day in dojo around the world, but when a new black belt student quits, it’s a low blow to the teacher(s) that promoted them. To be fair, they simply weren’t ready; as a teacher I realized to late that I have promoted a couple of students that just weren’t ready. Physically, they had the skill, and they met the curriculum, but the character of a black belt will not allow him/her to simply quit. I own those mistakes and have learned from them; I’m confident that I will make more mistakes, and I hope that I will learn from them as well.

STUDENTS: Although you may not realize it, your teachers care very deeply about you, your success, and your future. We invest our most precious resource in each student – our time. When you reach the black belt ranks, you are an indirect representative of your teacher. You look up to us, and we look to you as the future torchbearers, and can only hope our time invested in you was not wasted.
We all make mistakes, I’ve made more than my share, and regret all of them, but there is no looking back. Learn from mistakes, implement changes, and move forward.
This post is public, and I assure you that I am not singling any one out, I’m simply sharing what’s on my mind.
Too often, we share only the good, the positive, and the triumphs. Rarely do we let the public gain a glimpse of our struggles, our heartaches, and our heartbreaks.
Although I have been a teacher for 20+ years, I am first and foremost a student. As a student, I have made mistakes. As a black belt, I have disappointed my teacher. To err is human, to forgive is divine.
Students, your teacher will take you back; he/she is probably waiting eagerly and patiently for you to come back to the dojo; it isn’t as difficult as you think.

Tigers and Sheep

Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) 11 month cubs play fighting, Ranthambhore National Park, India.

This is not new information, in fact, this has been taught and practiced by generations of martial artists from every nation and every culture for centuries. With the easy access of highly technical information available with the plethora of internet offerings, the sheep wearing tiger’s clothing seem to be multiplying. The tigers that read this will nod and smile in agreement; the sheep will hopefully gain some motivation to transition to a tiger. The sheep in tiger’s clothing will probably ignore this, get upset, and talk trash to all their little sheep buddies.  I don’t have much to add in the way of commentary – Tomoyose Sensei said all that needs to be said.

The following commentary is courtesy of Tomoyose Ryuko Sensei – Uechi Ryu.

“Sometimes karate training can be called training as a tiger or training as a sheep. If you train as a tiger — hard training and body conditioning — you can always train with tigers. Other tigers will also recognize you and you can train in peace with them. They know that when two tigers really fight that one will die of injuries today and the other will die of injuries tomorrow. Both will die, so they have nothing to prove.

If you train like a sheep — no contact and no two man conditioning — then you can only train with sheep. A tiger can train with tigers and he can also train with sheep. He just has to be careful not to hurt them. A sheep cannot train with tigers. Sheep see tigers as being very frightening and their conditioning, he says, will cause cancer. A sheep training with tigers will get eaten up.

Sometimes you see a sheep who sees the truth of tiger training and changes. In reality this sheep was actually a tiger in sheep’s clothing waiting to come out.

Watch people training. Look at how they act and how they behave. A tiger can be like a little kitty but dangerous even though he is friendly. They are quiet and watch everything. They listen and watch. They know who they are and they have nothing to prove — they are at peace.

Sheep, on the other hand, make all kinds of noises and demand to be heard. They run around and seem to crave attention. They are easily hurt and easily scared. They always group together for their own protection. When danger approaches they look towards the group for protection because they cannot defend themselves. They are easy prey for the tigers — whether it is one sheep or several, sheep are still sheep.”

-Tomoyose Ryuko, Hanshi/Uechi Ryu